Europe is known for its rich history, great culture, delectable cuisine and stunning architecture. Western and Southern European countries like France, Italy and Spain are top of mind when visiting this amazing continent but travelers should realize that Central Europe has lots to offer as well. Hungary, Austria and Czech Republic are some countries that stand out and can parallel the splendor of their famous neighbors.
The three countries continue to dazzle curious travelers with its sophisticated beauty and mysterious past. Start your journey in Budapest, the vibrant city known for its thermal baths and ruin pubs. Next destination is Vienna, the city of music where opera houses and coffee shops fill the streets. Last to visit is Prague, the city of a hundred spires will make you fall in love with its colourful buildings and gothic churches.
Here are some travel tips when visiting these whimsical countries:
Austria uses Euro while Hungary uses Hungarian Forint and Czech Republic uses Czech Koruna or Crown. Avoid money changers at the airport, hotels and near touristic areas. I use XE Currency Converter to check if the exchange rate is reasonable.
|Hungary||Forint||€ 1||311.86 Ft|
|Czech Republic||Koruna||25.35 Kč|
*exchange rate as of Feb 16, 2018
Intercity Transfers – Budapest – Vienna – Prague
There are lots of options when traveling around Central Europe – plane, train and buses. I rode the Student Agency Bus from Budapest to Vienna and Vienna to Prague for 5± hours each trip.
There are other bus agencies to choose from but I like the service of the Student Agency Bus– the seats are comfortable to sit on, there’s free wifi, coffee or hot chocolate, touchscreen TV and power sockets to charge electronic gadgets.
Check Info Bus to compare prices of bus agencies.
Central Europe is cheaper than Western Europe. You can find a place where you can rest your head for only €7 -€10 (dorm type hostel). If you like privacy, prepare €20 – €30. Usually private rooms are good for 2 pax so if you have someone to travel with, you can just share a room and spend €10 – €15.
You can also do couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is a community of travelers where you can request to stay at a local’s place for free and learn about their culture and way of living. Note that couchsurfing is not just for free accommodation. It’s more of an exchange of culture, ideas, talents, etc.
You cannot leave Hungary without eating Langos. It’s a deep-fried dough topped with sour cream, cheese and garlic. It’s kinda sinful but it’s sooooo good! Try also their beef goulash or gulyás and of course, the Hungarian sausage. 🙂 Food ranges from €3- €8
The national dish of Austria is a succulent piece of meat called Wienerschnitzel. The golden brown fried veal will surely satisfy your taste buds. Check also their superb desserts – Viennese cakes and Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel). A good meal will set you back at €4- €10. Coffee ranges from €2 – €4 – and its better than Starbucks. lol
A popular and delicious meal in Czech Republic is Svíčková – sirloin beef drowned in a veggie cream sauce and usually paired with bread dumplings. Street food to try is Trdelnik, a sweet pastry topped with sugar or cinnamon. You can taste Prague flavors for €3- €9.
You should also try their Pilsner Urquell beer – the world’s first pilsner blond lager. One large beer costs about €1 – €2.
All three cities are walkable. But in case you’re tired to walk around the charming streets and old alleys, you can always rely to their developed public transport network that can get you to any point of the city.
The Pearl of Danube or Budapest has many transportation options like trains, trams, buses and trolleys.
|1 way ticket||24 hr pass||72 hr pass|
|Forint||350 HUF||1650 HUF||
TIP: Buy 10 tickets for 3,000HUF (save 500HUF)
The Imperial City of Vienna has friendly public transportation. Iconic landmarks are usually near the metro station so it’s easy to explore many areas.
|Currency||1 way ticket||24 hr pass||48 hr pass||72 hr pass|
|Euro||€ 2.20||€ 7.60||€ 13.30||
Check Wiener Linien for metro timetables
Prague is full of trams, buses and metro. But the best way to see the city is by walking.
|1 way ticket||24 hr pass||72 hr pass|
|Koruna||24 KCZ ( 30 mins travel)||110 KCZ||
32 KCZ( 90 mins travel)
Check Idnez.cz for Prague public transport timetables
Where do I start? There’s so much to see and do in these lovely cities. The iconic landmarks are next to each other or minutes away by foot. Some are kinda far but it’s worth the walk knowing that you’ll see a lot of interesting things along the way.
You can join some free walking tours to learn more about the city. I joined Good Vienna Tours when in Austria. They only ask for a tip at the end of the tour – no specific amount, pay whatever you think the tour is worth of.
Here’s my 8-day itinerary:
|Nyugati Railway Station (Budapest Nyugati pályaudvar)|
|Shoes on the Danube Bank (Cipők a Duna-parton)|
|Parliament Building (Országház)|
|Széchenyi Chain Bridge (Szechenyi lanchid)|
|Castle Hill (Várhegy)|
|Buda Castle (Budavári Palota)|
|Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya)|
|Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom)|
|Jewish Quarter – Ruin Pubs|
|Central Market Hall (Központi Vásárcsarnok)|
|Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere)|
|Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyad vára)|
|Szechenyi Bath/ Gellert Baths|
|Margaret Island (Margitsziget)|
|Day 3||BUDAPEST – VIENNA|
|Andrássy Avenue (Andrássy út)|
|Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar Állami Operaház)|
|TRANSFER TO VIENNA|
|Albertina Palais Museum|
|Vienna City Hall (Rathaus)|
|Imperial Palace Vienna (Hofburg Palace)|
|Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper)|
|Saint Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom)|
|Powder Tower (Prašná Brána)|
|Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí)|
|Astronomical Clock (Staroměstský orloj)|
|Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana)|
|Church Of Our Lady Before Týn|
|Parizska Street (Pařížská)|
Safe travels! 🙂